Georgian Caught Between Two Cultures
Gary Frazier and I have known each other about ten years. From Milledgeville, Georgia, he reads this column nearly every week and emails comments a couple times a year.
In 1971, at age ten, spinal meningitis and subsequent brain surgeries took his hearing and nearly his life. He became permanently Deaf and today also has trouble walking and short-term memory loss. Recently, he endured a painful spiral fracture of his left ankle, and doctors had to install a plate and screws to stabilize.
Frazier believes the word Deaf should always have a capital "D" to recognize the uniqueness of the Deaf culture and language. To him, spelling Deaf with a capital D is natural as spelling Georgian with a capital G.
Frazier said he often isn't completely accepted by the Deaf culture because of having married a "hearing" woman, being able to speak English, and becoming Deaf at 10. He also has never felt completely accepted by the hearing culture. In an email, however, he talked about the advantages he has enjoyed in being part of both cultures.
He said, "Because I'm bi-lingual (knowing both American Sign Language and English), have the ability to speak, am likeable, and am a hard worker like the majority of Deaf, I received (over the years) better salary increases at work than my hearing co-workers. Noise pollution doesn't affect me. When people say deafness is a handicap, I respond by saying the real 'handicap' is in being able to hear. Hearing people are rendered useless (sometimes) by noise."
Frazier worked a long time in the printing industry operating extremely noisy printing presses.
Due to his knowledge of the English language, some of his Deaf friends occasionally ask him to explain the meaning of printed English words or for help ordering from a fast food restaurant menu. In turn, he has been popular with hearing people-especially with those desiring to work in the Deaf culture-because of his knowledge of it. For example, he said, "Are you aware the word 'mood' is never a positive word with the Deaf?"
He continued, "I have the best of both worlds in being able to communicate with members of either group, but this isn't always a blessing. Although I have more than 120-decibel hearing loss in both ears, Deaf people (sometimes) refer to me as 'hearing,' even though many of them can hear much better than I can."
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesCalifornia Fires Update Summary (8.23.16)Last week firefighters across California battled nearly 250 new wildfires containing most to a small acreage. Since the beginning of the year there have been over 4,900 wildfires that have burned over 417,000 acres.
Nevada City Hosts Festive Celebration September 10-11NEVADA CITY, Calif. - The 50th Annual Nevada City Constitution Day Parade tops a full weekend of family fun Sept. 10-11 in this colorful Gold Rush town.
Humboldt Pilot Program to Track and Trace CannabisWith the state of California on the verge of approving the recreational use of marijuana in November, at least one company is ahead of the curve
Sierra College Supports Former Foster YouthRocklin, CA - As the school year begins, Sierra College is taking an extra step to ensure that one group of students gets off to a good start.
Roseville Man Arrested on Suspicion of MolestationRoseville, CA- Christopher Blaine Odom, age 43 of Roseville has been arrested on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts
Honda Accord Remains Top-Notch HybridRoseville, CA- The Honda Accord Hybrid is back for 2017 and frankly better than ever.
California Fires Update Summary (8.22.16)Over 10,000 firefighters are battling 6 large wildfires in California. Near normal temperatures have helped firefighters gain ground on many of these blazes
Roseville Gas Prices Move Off Summer LowsRoseville, CA- Roseville gas prices have risen this past week during a summer which has seen falling prices. Motorists growing hopes for gas under $2 per gallon were dashed
Autism Speaks Exec Speaks Lorri Unumb of Lexington, South Carolina, is vice president of state government affairs at Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization.
Fill the Pack Donation Drive in Roseville August 27thRoseville, CA- Similar to the "Fill the Boot" efforts of firefighters, all of our search and rescue teams will be at two Roseville locations on Saturday, Aug. 27, to "fill the pack"
Cap and Trade: Riverfront Streetcar Receives $30 Million GrantSacramento, CA- The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced the selection of the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar for $30 million
August is Child Support Awareness Month in Placer CountyAUBURN, Calif. -- The Placer County Board of Supervisors have proclaimed August 2016 as Child Support Awareness Month